Winter is here—or just around the corner in some parts of the country. That means rain, sleet, snow, and bone-chilling temperatures. You shouldn’t have to subject yourself to such extremes.
Well, guess what? This winter, you’re going to take some time off from shoveling driveways and sidewalks because we’ve put together nine of the best winter vacation ideas in the country. Take your pick and forget about being cold for a week or two.
You may feel like laughing as soon as you reach Palm Beach. Why? Well, you’re sitting on a pristine stretch of sand overlooking the Atlantic Ocean while your friends and family are back home shoveling themselves out of knee-deep snow. But don’t think about them too much—you’ve got things to do, like taking a West Palm Beach Food Tour and a historical walking tour of world-famous Worth Avenue. Ready to make some new friends? Drive to nearby West Palm Beach and visit Manatee Lagoon at the FPL Eco-Discovery Center.
Trade a snow-covered landscape for one with cactuses and sand. The scenery of Tucson, Arizona, is a great place to wait out the winter. Visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, go horseback riding at the White Stallion Ranch, or take a hot air balloon ride. Snow? What’s that?
What better way to escape the misery of a cold winter than by hightailing it to a tropical island? The town of Rincon, Puerto Rico, is about as far away from a snowstorm as you can get, and a blizzard will be the last thing on your mind as you glide across the surface of a perfect wave with Rincon Surf Lessons. Hungry? Get yourself a plate of fried plantains and skirt steak from La Copa Llena. Before you head home, be sure to pick up a few souvenirs from the Caribbean Trading Company. Who knows, a mini steel drum might look good in your living room.
There’s something about the desert that makes you forget all about winter…actually, it’s probably all the warm temperatures and the sand. But if you start missing winter while staying in Las Cruces, New Mexico, just look east towards the snow-capped Organ Mountains and you’ll be good. You won’t miss it too much, though. Especially after wandering through the Las Cruces Farmers Market, seeing a show at the Rio Grande Theater, and taking a quick day-trip to the quirky town of Mesilla. Enjoy your stay.
The instant you land in Haleiwa, Hawaii—before you even check into your hotel—head to Matsumoto Shave Ice and get yourself a large bowl of rainbow-flavored crushed ice. Once you down that, you’ll be ready to shop your way through the awesome Surf N Sea surf shop. If you want to learn everything there is to know about Polynesian culture, make the 18-mile drive to Kahuku and check out the Polynesian Cultural Center. The center puts on a luau for the ages that is a must-see.
If you really want to make your snowed-in friends jealous, snap a selfie of yourself sipping a glass of Private Reserve red from Buena Vista Winery in Sonoma, California. You could also FaceTime them while you’re walking through Sonoma Plaza or exploring the buildings in Jack London State Historic Park. Those are just a few things you could do in Sonoma County to make your pals come down with a serious case of FOMO this winter.
Stumped on winter vacation ideas? Amelia Island holds the answers to your questions. If you can get away from the gorgeous beaches—it’ll be hard to do—take a day to wander the streets of historic downtown Fernandina Beach looking for souvenirs. When you’re hungry, get yourself a basket of fried shrimp from Timoti’s Seafood Shak. Feel like something a bit more romantic? Board one of the vessels from Amelia River Cruises with your special someone and watch the sunset. There are no winter blues in this town.
If the hilly seaside town of La Jolla, California, wasn’t high on your list of warm winter vacation ideas, it sure as heck should be. With an average year-round daytime temperature of 70 degrees, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to get here. Head to La Jolla Shores with Everyday California for an unforgettable kayak tour of La Jolla Cove. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot marine life like sea lions and dolphins. When you’re back on dry land, wander around the shops in the village like the Cave Store. Close out your day with a sunset meal at George’s at the Cove—the view from upstairs is second to none. You’ll enjoy your time in La Jolla so much that we’re willing to guess you’ll leave town with a few real estate pamphlets in hand.
Do 60-degree temperatures and sunny skies sound good to you? If so, point your rental car in the direction of South Carolina and don’t stop driving until you get to the town of Aiken. The largest city in Aiken County is the perfect place to forget about sub-zero temperatures. Make your home away from home at the Wilcox, where there is an excellent on-site restaurant and spa. Venture into town for a cold beer at Aiken Brewing Company before heading out on one of the great Tailored Tours of Aiken. We hear the Haunted Aiken one is very spooky.
There it is, folks. Our nine best destinations to escape the cold miserable winter of wherever you’re from. Start packing the car now and get going before the snow catches up!